Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/134

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
122
BAGATELLE.
BACK.

to the fulfilment of the above functions. Now and then we meet with a violoncello by one of the old makers with a back of pine or lime-wood. But the tone of such an instrument, however good in quality, is invariably wanting in power and intensity.

The backs of violins, tenors, and violoncellos are shaped after one and the same model: most elevated and thickest in the centre; somewhat thinner and slanting towards the edges. They are made either of one piece, or of two, joined lengthwise in the middle. The back of the double-bass has retained that of the older viol-di-gamba tribe: it is flat, and at the top slants towards the neck. Close to the edges the back is inlaid with a single or double line of purfling, which is merely intended to improve the outward appearance of the instrument.

[ P. D. ]

BADIALI, Cesare, a very distinguished basso cantante; made his first appearance at Trieste, 1827. After achieving a brilliant success at every one of the chief theatres of Italy, and especially at Milan, where he sang in 1830, 1831, and 1832, he was engaged for the opera of Madrid, then at Lisbon, and did not return to Italy till 1838. On his reappearance at Milan, he was welcomed with enthusiasm; and continued to sing there, and at Vienna and Turin, until 1842, when he was appointed principal chambersinger to the Emperor. He sang afterwards at Rome, Venice, Trieste, Turin, and other towns of less importance. In 1845 he was at Leghorn. The Accademia di S. Cecilia of Rome received him as a member of its body. In 1859 he made his first appearance in London, when he made the quaint remark, 'What a pity I did not think of this city fifty years ago!' He retained at that time, and for some years longer, a voice of remarkable beauty, an excellent method, and great power of executing rapid passages. He was one of the few who have ever sung the music of Assur in Rossini's 'Semiramide' as it was written: in that part he was extremely good, and not less so in that of the Conte Robinson in the 'Matrimonio Segreto.' A singular feat is ascribed to him. It is said that, when supping with friends, he would drink a glass of claret, and, while in the act of swallowing it, sing a scale; and if the first time his execution was not quite perfect, he would repeat the performance with a full glass, a loud voice, and without missing a note or a drop.

He was a good musician, and left a few songs of his own composition. For the last ten years of his life he resided and sang in Paris. He died 17 Nov. 1865 at Imola, where he was born.

[ J. M. ]

BÄRMANN. The name of a remarkable family of musicians, (1) Heinrich Joseph, one of the finest of clarinet players—'a truly great artist and glorious man' as Weber calls him—born at Potsdam Feb. 17, 1784, and educated at the oboe school there, where his ability procured him the patronage of Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia. The peace of Tilsit (1807) released him from a French prison, and he then obtained a place in the court band at Munich. He next undertook a tour through Germany, France, Italy, England, and Russia, which established his name and fame far and wide. His special claim on our interest arises from his intimate connection with C. M. von Weber, who arrived in Munich in 1811, and wrote various concert-pieces for Bärmann, which remain acknowledged masterpieces for the clarinet. Meyerbeer also became closely acquainted with him during the congress at Vienna in 1813. Not less interesting and creditable was his intimacy with Mendelssohn, who was evidently on the most brotherly footing with him and his family, and wrote for him the two duets for clarinet and basset-horn published as Op. 113. He died at Munich June 11, 1847, leaving compositions behind him which are highly esteemed for their technical value. (2) His brother Karl, born at Potsdam 1782 and died 1842; a renowned bassoon player, and belonged to the royal band at Berlin. More important was (3) Karl, the son of Heinrich, and the true scholar and successor of his father. He was born at Munich 1820, and during a lengthened tour in 1838 was introduced by his father to the musical world as a virtuoso of the first order. After this he at once took the place of first clarinet in the Munich court band, with which he had indeed been accustomed to play since the age of fourteen. His compositions for the clarinet are greatly esteemed, especially his 'Clarinet School' (Andre, Offenbach) in two parts, the second of which contains twenty grand studies; also a supplement thereto, 'Materialien zur weiteren technischen Ausbildung,'—a collection of difficult passages from his own works. [App. p.530 "He died May 23, 1885."] (4) His son, Karl jun., a fine pianoforte player, is teacher at this time (1875) in the music school at Munich.

Weber's friendship for the Bärmanns has been already mentioned. Two of his letters to them will be found in 'Letters of Distinguished Musicians' (pp. 351, 381). The same collection contains no less than thirteen letters from Mendelssohn to Heinrich, and one to Carl—letters delightful not only for their fun and cleverness, but for the close intimacy which they show to have existed between the two, and the very great esteem which Mendelssohn—a man who did not easily make friends—evidently felt for the great artist he addresses. Other references to Bärmann will be found in Mendelssohn's 'Reisebriefe.'

[ A. M. ]

BAGATELLE (Fr. 'a trifle'). A short piece of pianoforte music in a light style. The name was probably first used by Beethoven in his 'Seven Bagatelles,' op. 33, who subsequently also wrote three other sets, two of which are published as ops. 119 and 126; the third is still in manuscript (Thayer, 'Chron. Verz.' No. 287). As bearing upon the title, it is worth while to mention that Beethoven's manuscript of his op. 119 has the German inscription 'Kleinigkeiten,' instead of the French equivalent. The form of the